November 25, 2013Posted by Andrea Seifert
Arthur Burnand and Matt Bowden are sock connoisseurs. The dapper duo are both hardworking corporate cats who have a penchant for below the belt necessities. We’re talking the kind that cover your…um…feet. The result is SOXKS, a fun, vibrant take on the usually dour, plain black variety. The HUNT sat down for a chat with them recently, and we have a feeling they’re going to be mighty SOXKsessful.
Q: What was your inspiration for SOXKS?
Arthur: We wanted to change the world and be bigger than Apple. We’re pretty sure we sold more SOXKS than Apple after our first sale. Now we’re working on changing the world. It’s a tough gig but one SOXK (try saying that) at a time…
Matt: I think we’ve both always had a penchant for eccentric socks, but no matter what was happening out there in the sock world we were always left underwhelmed in terms of quality, design, and content. A big part of starting this project was a desire to improve upon and challenge what was already out there.
Q: Arthur, how did you and Matt get together?
Arthur: We’ve known each other for over 6 years, after meeting while both of us were living in Asia. Keen eyes for fun, a passion for socks and a few gin and tonics have secured a solid friendship and partnership.
Matt: Ginspiration and tonics are, somewhat counterintuitively, what turned a drinking partnership into a business partnership. However I must get it on record that we’re not ‘together’.
Q: Why socks, and not hats/ties/boxershorts?
Arthur: Socks are the untouched part of fashion. The subtle slither sneaking from between your trouser and shoe, showing that despite the suit, the uniform, or less subtly, the shorts, you’re made of fun… and as someone once said, “Fun is cooler than cool”.
Matt: Funnily enough we did consider hats, ties, and undies, but we very quickly realized that among those items the only thing we both wear is socks.
Q: Walk us through the design process…
Arthur: I can’t go into the gory details but it involves writing ideas on my arm because you can easily lose napkins, beermats or pieces of paper. We call it armstorming.
Matt: Yes, the follow up from the arm-storm is basically highly technical, and involves a lot of test tubes and explosions, but the results so far have been okay. We see ourselves more as alchemists than designers as such.
Q: How did you go about finding the right factory?
Arthur: Mainland China wanted large MOQs and were rubbish at customer service and we wanted to work with someone who bought into our dream and then… Matt over to you.
Matt: Thankfully I’m quite well acquainted with Taiwan and had heard of a semi-mystical town in the center of the island whose very purpose was the production of hosiery…and guavas. Upon researching further and visiting this sock citadel I stumbled across ‘Elfsox’, a small, top notch family-run business. Having SOXKS made by elves was one of the key requirements on our checklist, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Q: What’s your favorite pair? Or is that like asking you to pick a favorite child?
Arthur: Picking my favorite child is easy. I’d have to say the mullet concept is number one as I love the business at the front, party at the back concept.
M: The Daydreamer is undoubtedly my favorite as I’m a sucker for the heavens and I also spent much of my time in corporate employment perfecting my daydreaming skills.
Q: Do you have Christmas SOXKS coming out for the season?
Arthur: SOXKS are all classics and our first collection is the perfect Christmas gift. We will be bring out the second collection early next year and it’s going to blow your SOXKS off!
Matt: Yes, basically we’ve done the calculations with a team of experts at one of Europe’s best universities, and they have confirmed that Christmas = SOXKS.
Q: What do you suppose happens to the all the disappearing socks? I feel like I have a drawer full of lonely souls who have lost their mate at some point in between the laundry basket and the dryer…
Arthur: SOXKS come with a unique packaging design so each pair has its own home. Also included in the first collection is a tiny little wash bag big enough for a pair of SOXKS so they ain’t goin nowhere!
Matt: This is an interesting question and something I’m sure the chaps at Monty Python must at some point have pondered, and one which would make for a great episode of the Mighty Boosh. Whatever the answer is, as Arthur mentions, we’ve come up with a solution to prevent these disappearances.
Q: What’s next for SOXKS? A kids or women’s line?
Arthur: Quite a few ladies have been spotted wearing SOXKS already but yes, kids, women, pets etc. have also been part of an armstorm at some point.
M: Father and son SOXKS are also high on our to do list. Another accessories concept we’re considering will be announced in April next year.
SOXKS can be purchased online at www.soxks.com